Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Brad Kopplin
The conciliatory expression of a silver lining - full of remotely blissful insinuations while still being associated with a tremendously rotten core -- is the one to reference when considering the work of Rhode Island's Get Him Eat Him. Many aspects of the band's latest album, Arms Down, risk their defining moments as double entendres that aren't suitable for punning, but for the sobering reality that they can invoke. One can believe what they'd like about the visual for the title of the record, but I see it as the defiant act of a roller coaster rider looking cross and treating a thrilling plunge unemotionally - a blank look of being exasperatingly unimpressed with the force of gravity on the pit of the stomach, the speed whipping through the hair and the lack of body control.
There's a lot of the weighty, but whimsical seriousness in Matt LeMay's chipper voicings, that can be seen as the tears of the clown or the whatever brush-up that isn't submission but an admission of the randomness of sense. He walks the squiggly line between depressing thoughts and uplifting daisy chains and charm bracelets. His songs can be about stolen time, stolen glances and unreturned fondness. They're about miscues and troubleshooting, not to mention the routine failure of the latter. He remains cheerful in spite of the squires getting the short end of the stick. He remains cheerful in spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence that exposes the hard times for being the majority.
Interestingly, LeMay and his five-piece band chose an Elvis Costello tune for this session. Talk about a dude, seasoned in the double-edged sword - the good year for the roses, etc., etc. LeMay's bounciness and his ability to funnel the fumes through a shade of optimism -- to give them a touch of a stallion's kick, the spice of life that doesn't settle for anything is smart and exquisitely pop. It's the Norman Rockwell painting of the scrawny, but smiling kid sitting outside the principal's office with the purpled eye, just in the form of bite-sized touchstones to the cause of waffling between the silver and its soured beginnings.
The Daytrotter interview:
*What was your last meal?*
Matt LeMay: I ate two slices of white pizza from Anna Maria Pizza and Pasta in Brooklyn. They make their white slices with chunks of smoked mozzarella.
*What would you want your very last meal to be?*
ML: An eternal lifeburger.
*Now, you've been chronicling your meals for how long? (Isn't that right?)*
ML: We started the sandwich blog a few years ago, and haven't been all that good about updating it. But within the band, we talk about food a lot. A whole lot. We really like food.
*When I think of your band name, I think of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer gets fat so he can work from home. In a fantasy, he imagines a talking aristocratic hog whom he takes a bite out of, while the hog says, "Well done old boy!" or something of that nature. What are we supposed to think about? Is there a different scene from the Simpsons that's more apt?*
ML: The name comes from an idea our former keyboardist Raf and his friend Erin had for a cartoon show, in which these two seals named Get Him and Eat Him chase a fisherman. Get Him only says "Get Him" and Eat Him only says "Eat Him." If I had to pick a scene from the Simpsons that seems apt in a more
vague and nebulous sense, I'd say it's in episode 2F14, "Homer vs. Patty and Selma," where Bart discovers his talent as a ballet dancer. He's afraid to be seen at his recital, so he performs in a ski mask. When his performance is well-received, he removes the mask and identifies himself as the mysterious dancer. The school bullies, who had been moved to tears by his performance, promptly kick the shit out of him.
*Have you ever gone hunting?*
*Is Rhode Island pretty boss? What's the official state food?*
ML: Whether or not it is "officially" counted as the state food, the New York System hot weiner reigns supreme in Li'l Rhody. Which is kind of confusing, now that I think about it. But dang, it's delicious; a small, spiced, orange-y weiner topped with mustard, watery beef chili, chopped onions, and celery salt. Also, people in Rhode Island call milk shakes "cabinets." And drink coffee milk, which is like chocolate milk but with coffee syrup rather than chocolate syrup. Clearly, Rhode Island is pretty great.
*Did you purposefully choose to be on a record label that shares half of its name with one of the greatest pickle manufacturers of all time?*
*Have you spent $10 on Superbad yet? I have.*
ML: Actually, I spent $6 on Superbad -- the theater in my neighborhood sells discounted tickets for pre-11am shows on Fridays and Saturdays.